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Friday, February 6, 2009


Johannesburg Civic Theatre becomes Joburg Theatre.

“Eight years ago the newly-appointed theatre operating company’s Board of Directors and executive management team started a project to renovate and refresh the image of The Johannesburg Civic Theatre,” announces the company’s Chief Executive, Bernard Jay. “Now we think it’s time to wrap the project in its new branding, hopefully reflecting today’s Johannesburg Civic Theatre in its strategic turn-around. The building has become, simply, Joburg Theatre.”

The theatre building itself is owned by the City of Joburg and the operating company is a municipal entity of the City of Joburg.

“Our Civic Theatre has been going through its own renaissance since becoming a municipal entity of the City of Joburg in 2000,” notes the Executive Mayor Amos Masondo. “Its reputation both locally and within the global entertainment industry makes us proud. We welcome its re-branding and we are happy that our world class theatre will continue to enhance our prestige as a World Class African City”.

“Every forward thinking corporate goes through a brand image transformation every now and again,” adds Bernard Jay. “The product is often similar, but the packaging is more contemporary and hopefully more accessible. The word ‘Civic’ itself, in theatre terminology, is from another era. Johannesburg has moved into the 21st Century with its new logo identity as Joburg. We wanted the city’s theatre to move along with the city.

“With the recent opening of other mainstream theatres within the greater Joburg area, owned and operated by casinos or independent businesses,” Jay continues, “the appropriate new name of Joburg Theatre will highlight to the public that this theatre truly belongs to and is the theatrical pride of the City of Joburg.”

The Michel Tesson Trust, on behalf of the venue’s original benefactor, has also given its approval for the name change of Joburg Theatre’s 251-seat Tesson Theatre to The Fringe.

This new name is already closely associated with Fringe Theatre Festivals in Grahamstown and Edinburgh, along with all the smaller theatres operating throughout Greater London - collectively known as The Fringe. A Fringe theatre is a relatively small venue that will frequently present more adventurous and developmental style programming than its larger, necessarily commercial neighbours. It is planned to bring exactly this kind of independent identification to The Fringe at Joburg Theatre in future years.